This is a three part series on The Message of the Ego.
EGO-BODY BLUEPRINT OF THE SOUL
Kill or love your ego?
Again and again, I read in the latest spirituality literature and hear from our New Age gurus that we have to kill, or at least sublimate, the ego. That looming part of us that interferes in our lives and needs to be gotten rid of, removed from the psyche. It is the culprit of traumatic experiences, our deepest fear, our selfish behavior. At the same moment, the loudest message from the same sources says that we need to learn how to love our neighbors, our enemies, our family. That love is the strongest force in the world and helps us to feel interconnected with every living species, and even the entire universe.
Doesn't that seem like a profound disconnected story? We need to kill a bothersome part in us in order to love everything else?
Eckhart Tolle says that the ego has its physical life in the gut (solar plexus) and he calls it the pain body, where it creates fear. I can agree with that. I do get the butterflies in my stomach or the nervous jitters when I am afraid to face something I am not ready to confront. But instead of rejecting the feeling and judging myself for having it, or trying to kill it, I try to be compassionate with myself and tune in to the underlying message of why I have such a strong response. After years of learning how to listen and sense what is going on in such a moment, I can pretty soon discover of where my fears originated. I can often even pinpoint to traumatic events in my childhood that impacted me so deeply that the imprint is still carried in my cellular memory for instant recall. I also know that no amount of denial or rejection will heal this. It is simply an earlier self that is still trying to integrate the traumatic event, or the admonishing look by an important authority figure that always left me feeling ‘not good enough’.
I find that there are two categories of responses to childhood interference. We collapse and feel sad, or get stiff and push back. These are programmed and show up in our body memory. The collapsed person has a caved in chest and the push-back person’s upper body is armored and the posture overly straight. Both are difficult for the body to sustain over a longer period, let alone a lifetime. Pain sets in, organs, blood flow, muscles, tissue, etc are effected and the doctor’s or another health practitioner’s job is to ‘fix it’ with a pill, a knife, laser, or a manipulation of some sort. Manipulation is, at least, not killing but is trying to trick the ego while it is raising its ugly little head or shut it up, so it won’t bother us anymore.
If the ego self originates in the ‘pain body’ and in the younger, innocent, vulnerable, defenseless self, why would we want to treat it the way our abusers or even well-meaning parents did (who didn't know better because of their own upbringing, lack of love, or understanding)?
Doesn't it make sense then that the early consciousness goes underground, gets buried in the subconscious, and from there starts to haunt us in our dreams or stress responses (like anger or depression), disease, autoimmune dysfunctions or every kind? And all because the early child was not immune to overwhelming, hurtful incoming information and still gets triggered today with lightning speed before we can control it, and then may be called the ego. So, yes, the pills, or the operation may kill the pain but it is not able to kill our younger self. Wouldn't it be more sensible to learn how to listen to it by building and educating our sensory intelligence through body-dialogue with touch, talk, and movement, and bring the child consciousness out of the closet? We could redirect her attention and engage her where she still lives through play, imagination, the creative arts, and most of all the beauty and intricacy and gifts of nature. She will live no longer in the shadows waiting for her moment to get our attention; most often through pain, anger, or frustration which will eventually manifest in all manner of struggles from despondency to failed marriages, abused children, aggression, wars, etc.
The good news is that this ingeniously disguised child self has an indestructible spirit that no one can kill! But that spirit may be so deeply buried that it might be hard to find, gain its trust, and help it come out of hiding. However, it is worth the effort…and any bit of love you can share with it will help you and the world get stronger. I’d rather be compassionate and fall in love with any and every part of myself than have to kill something in me that is simply still wounded and waiting for help to heal.
Let’s free this powerful creative child who had the brilliant idea to go underground, give it a new job description and experience how body and psyche are after all thrilled to work together again and become fresh, light, playful, and spontaneous as only children can. Imagine how your life and your world would look and live with a lightness of being…joyful, healthy, caring.
SHALL WE KILL THE EGO OR LOVE IT AWAY ?
The place we call the “Ego” seems to give us at best a lot of worry, and at worst it causes unwanted discomfort and even destruction.
Do we in turn need to destroy the ego, or should we even want to?
As a Body-Psychotherapist I find that on an energetic level the ego resides in the 2nd“Chakra”, which signifies personal and sexual relationships and the ability to say “YES” or “NO”, when appropriate. (Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning “wheel”, which refers to the seven major energy centers in the human body.) On a developmental level, it signals the time of the two year old child in us who is learning to say NO, while trying to discover and affirm its ego-self identity without interference. (Remember the “Terrible Twos”?)
What if you were to approach your ego the same way you would handle a willful child - one who needs to find out how she/he fits into the world, test whether she is “good enough”, acceptable and mostly lovable? Would you try to suppress the child’s creative explorations of self, or would you want to lovingly teach and lead her/him into new directions?
Whenever we don’t feel heard, seen, acknowledged, respected, or appreciated our early memories - particularly those of our two year old time - get triggered. Our subconscious can, and does, immediately and relentlessly flood us with unexplored feelings of the past. No wonder we want to get rid of and deny these uncomfortable and often painful memories.
Most of us believe that we are not good enough, that we did and are still doing something profoundly wrong because we aren’t, and weren’t, able to control our environment by making the world a safe place for ourselves and the people we care, or “should” care about. This belief was so firmly planted long ago, that it still haunts us today.
In order not to get re-traumatized we often choose to suppress the early painful experiences.
We may collapse under them and become depressed (and then take anti-depressants to stop the overwhelming feelings). Most often we become defensive when someone accuses us of even the slightest wrong doing. What we are really defending is that fragile young place inside, the child who is still looking for a voice, trying to be heard and seen. In truth, we no longer want to get acknowledged by anyone else of the past or present, but rather we want to be lovingly re-parented by our own adult self.
With the kind of Body-Psychotherapy I have developed over many years, and called Unergi (unity & energy), we can access and gently redirect and re-educate the early self without being afraid of re-traumatization. Through simultaneous touch, talk, and movement the rejected ego-self can find a welcoming, integrated place that will feel expansive on mental, emotional, and physical levels. We will learn how to create and sustain meaningful relationships.
Life includes all and therefore needs to creatively, naturally and lovingly express our spiritual nature without fear of even the youngest and most inexperienced part of us. Didn’t the loving entity Jesus say, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark - Chapter 10:14)
I suggest that we start with healthy, compassionate self-care and remind our younger ego-self that we are “good enough, acceptable and mostly lovable”, one moment at a time!
This is a three part series on The Message of the Ego.
You may want to join us in Unergi classes, workshops, or private sessions.